Sunday March 20, 2022 Romans Week 46 Romans 8:35-39 “More Than Conquerors”

Sunday – March 20, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – March 20, 2022

Romans 8:37
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”

In September of 1995, the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters suffered a rare defeat on the basketball court as they toured Europe with a team made up of several former professional basketball stars. The 91-85 defeat in Vienna, Austria, ended the team’s winning streak at twenty-four-years, that is, not games! The team had won an astounding total of 8,829 straight exhibition games since their last defeat before that in January, 1971.

Christians want to think of victory in terms of winning. We like to think that Christ’s power and purposes are most evident when we win, when we overcome our opponents. Paul simply underscores a principle which has always governed God’s work: God uses apparent defeat to produce ultimate victory. God uses the suffering of His saints to make them conquerors—more than conquerors. We are victorious when we suffer the calamities of life, in faith, trusting in God, knowing that He is accomplishing His purposes through our affliction. Our confidence must not end when the going gets tough. The testing of our faith really begins here.

The expression “overwhelmingly conquer” needs to be pondered. The Bible does not promise to make “copers” of us, but conquerors. It is not enough to muddle through life merely enduring our adversity. God does not promise to take us out of our afflictions, but He does promise that we will emerge from them victorious. We will be victorious in the sense that we will grow in our faith, hope and love. We will conquer in that we will become more like Christ due to our sufferings. We will conquer in that God’s purposes will be achieved through us and others will see the grace of God at work in our lives.

How does one overwhelmingly conquer? I think I have a small grasp of what this means. We overwhelmingly conquer as the sons of God. When God created man, Adam and Eve, and put him on the earth, he was created to reflect God’s image. The fall greatly marred this image of God in man. God has purposed our salvation to restore this image. Paul has written in verse 29 that we are predestined to become conformed to the image of Christ. Man was originally to reflect the image of God by subduing the earth and ruling over it, in God’s name. We, as the sons of God, with Christ, will have a part in the conquest and restoration of the earth. This is that for which all of creation eagerly awaits (8:20-23).

Sunday – October 17, 2021 Romans Week 25 Romans 6 Overview “The Necessity of Sanctification”

Sunday – October 17, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – October 17, 2021

Roman 6:1              
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?“

God created a world of wonder and beauty, a world at peace and harmony. As we read frequently in the first two chapters of Genesis, “… it was good.” But then Adam and Eve sinned. From that point on in time, ugliness, chaos, and devastation have been the rule of the day. No longer does the description “good” seem to fit in our fallen world.

Our passage reminds me of the great impact which Adam’s sin has had on our world and on mankind in particular. Everything which man touches, man corrupts, including the splendor of the salvation which God has provided in Jesus Christ. Our righteous God cannot tolerate sin, and so, in His holiness, He condemned sin and sinners. In His mercy and righteousness, He provided for man’s salvation, by pouring out His holy indignation on His Son, Jesus Christ. God provided unrighteous men with His own righteousness, and what does man immediately do? He seeks to turn God’s grace into a license for sin. God’s salvation is distorted, so that salvation now becomes an excuse, even a mandate, for sin. The questions Paul has raised in Romans 6 only remind us of how desperately evil our hearts are, that we would seek to excuse sin as though we were serving God.

Romans 6 teaches the gospel is not only the basis for our conduct, it is the standard. When the possibility of continuing to live in sin is raised, Paul refutes it by taking us back to the cross. Christ died to sin and was raised to newness of life. When we were saved, we were united with Him in His death, burial, and resurrection. How then can those who died to sin live in sin? The cross is the standard for our conduct. God saved unrighteous men, not in order that they could continue to live in sin, but to enable them to live in righteousness. We must live in conformity to God’s purposes and provisions and not in conformity to our former lusts.

Sin blinds the unbeliever, but it also distorts the vision and the perspective of the believer. Paul’s words in our text serve as a strong caution, reminding us of the effects of sin which remain, in us. Paul informs us that even the truth can be distorted and perverted so that sound doctrine is twisted to excuse and to advocate sin. Let us beware of the danger here. How easily we can deceive ourselves and excuse sin in our lives. How easily doing what is wrong can be justified as serving the purposes of God. We must constantly be on the alert to this danger.

Sunday – October 3, 2021 Romans Week 23 Romans 5:12-19 “The Cure is One Step From the Cross”

Sunday – October 3, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – October 3, 2021

Romans 5:15
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

Over the centuries of mankind’s history, many men and women have significantly impacted the destiny of those who followed after them. None, however, has had greater impact than Adam, the first man. In our text, Paul shows just how great the impact of Adam’s “fall” has been upon mankind. Paul stresses this impact to demonstrate that in spite of the curse, which Adam’s sin brought upon the human race, God has provided a cure in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Adam is regarded as the source of sin’s entrance into the world. With his act of disobedience, sin first entered human history. No believer would disagree with this. But Adam’s sin did much more than this—it brought guilt upon all mankind. Adam’s sin and resulting guilt was imputed to all his descendants. Adam sinned, and because of this he died. Adam sinned, and because of this, all men die. All men die because they sinned, in Adam. Paul explains this more fully in verse 12. “The wages of sin is death,” both for Adam (Genesis 2:16-17) and for all others (Romans 6:23).

Men are not guilty sinners only because Adam sinned, corrupting and implicating the rest of the human race. Paul has already taught in chapters 1-3 that all men, without exception, are guilty sinners, because each of us is guilty of unbelief and disobedience toward God. All men have received some revelation about God from His creation. Some men have the added revelation of God’s Law. But regardless of how much men have had revealed to them about God, they have rejected Him and refused to worship or to obey Him.

Does the curse of sin on the entire human race, due to the act of one man, trouble us? Then we must press on to the second link Paul makes. Not only is there a link between Adam’s sin and mankind’s universal guilt, there is a link between Adam and Christ. In verse 14, Paul informs us that Adam “is a type of Him who was to come.” Adam is a type of Christ. What seems to be bad news becomes very good news. There is a similarity between Adam and Christ in just this respect: that as his one sin brought death to all, even when there was no personal sin, so Christ’s one act of obedience brings unfailing righteousness to those who are in Him, even when they have no personal righteousness. It is this likeness, this link, which enabled our Lord Jesus Christ to die on Calvary, and to rise from the dead, and in so doing to free men from the curse brought upon them by Adam. Adam’s curse has its cure, in Christ.

Sunday – August 29, 2021 Romans Week 18 Romans 4:16-22 “The Nature of Saving Faith”

Sunday – August 29, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – August 29, 2021

Romans 4:20-22
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness”.

The bad news of universal condemnation seen in the beginning of Romans is overshadowed by the good news of a righteousness of God provided to all who believe in Jesus Christ. What man cannot do by his own efforts, God has done in the Person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ. His death appeased the righteous anger of God toward the sinner. His death and resurrection provide the righteousness which men need to be declared righteous by God. Faith in Jesus Christ makes men righteous before God without Law-keeping.

Jules Henri Poincare, who in extolling the memory of his distinguished friend, uttered these terrible words: “It matters little what God one believes in; it is the faith and not the God that makes miracles.” No statement can be farther from the truth because the Bible teaches it is the object of our faith that makes all the difference between heaven and hell. Here Paul proves this point by examining the faith of Abraham that was credited as righteousness.

Abraham’s faith was in a God Who could create something out of nothing. So far as his chances of having a child, they were nil. He and Sarah were as good as dead. Yet Abraham trusted God to create something out of nothing, a son from an old man and a barren woman. Abraham also believed in a God Who could raise the dead. This is evident in his faith in the promise to have a son of his own loins and Sarah, for they were both as good as dead so far as producing children was concerned. Nowhere is this faith in God’s ability to raise the dead more evident than in Abraham’s willingness to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice (Genesis 22).

In addition, Abraham’s faith was one that did not dwell on the obstacles to faith but on the object of faith. Abraham knew all too well the difficulties, but did not waver in his faith. The point is that Abraham, in spite of tremendous human obstacles, trusted in God to do as He promised. His faith overlooked the obstacles and focused upon the object of faith, God the Father. Because of this kind of faith, Abraham was justified before God. I invite you this morning to receive your reconciliation with that same God by placing all your faith in the work of the one man, His Son Jesus Christ. Then, you too, having been justified by faith, can have peace with God.

Sunday – February 28, 2021 Job 16 “Christian Thinking During COVID 19” Pt 9

Sunday – February 28, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – February 28, 2021

Romans 14:2-3
One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.

Christians are in the building business—not in the demolition business. Judging others and demanding the right to exercise our liberty, regardless of its effect on others, tears others down. In the abstract, all things are clean for the one whose faith is strong and whose conscience is clean concerning their exercise. Yet these “good” things become “evil” for the strong if and when they cause another to stumble.

Paul provides two illustrations of differing convictions in Romans 14: eating meat (14:2) and the observance of certain holidays (14:5). Both the strong and the weak are tempted to sin against their brother. The danger for the strong believer is to look upon his weaker brother with contempt: “How could he be so shallow in his grasp of God’s grace and of Christian liberty?” The weaker brother stands in danger of condemning his stronger brother for his liberty in Christ: “How could he be so liberal? Does he not believe in separation?” Both of these brothers, the strong and the weak, are represented as judging the other. Both are looking down on each other, while at the same time thinking too highly of themselves.

How quickly and easily sin corrupts! For those who are strong in their faith, every Christian liberty is clean. The strong believers have more faith and a greater grasp of grace and Christian liberty.  But the moment my “good” causes “evil” for another, it becomes evil for me also. Any liberty I exercise at the expense of a brother becomes a sin for me (verse 20). For those who are weak in faith tend to fail to grasp the full implications of the work of Christ. This leads weaker saints to be inclined towards being legalistic. So weaker saints lean towards thinking believers cannot do what God’s Word allows.

The strong Christian then is left with two principal concerns. The first danger is exercising a liberty to the detriment of a weaker brother. The second danger is to be tempted to approve that which God does not—to press his liberty too far. To him, Paul says, “Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves” (verse 22). The weaker Christian is left with one exhortation: “Don’t act out of doubt, but only out of faith.” The principle governing his actions is simple: “Whatever is not from faith is sin” (verse 23). Doubt is the opposite of faith, so actions produced from doubt result in sin.

Sunday – January 31, 2021 Job 32 to 38 “Christian Thinking During COVID 19” Pt 5

Sunday – January 31, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – January 31, 2021

Job 36:1-4
Elihu continued: “Bear with me a little longer and I will show you that there is more to be said in God’s behalf. I get my knowledge from afar; I will ascribe justice to my Maker. Be assured that my words are not false; one perfect in knowledge is with you.”

Elihu exemplifies one of the major reasons why we might not listen to what someone has to say about God. Young and obscure, Elihu presents a testimony that carries little weight among many intellectual greats. This may be one reason why God has employed farmers, shepherds, fishermen and even children (the child Samuel) as messengers of inspired truth. Heaven has a way of placing truth beyond intellectual pride. Yet even if God speaks to us through a little child, or perhaps a donkey, He always gives us enough evidence to discern His voice.

In the case of Elihu there is more than enough evidence to recognize this young man as heaven sent. He does not use the same words Job’s three friends did; accusing Job of secret sins or assuming that Job’s suffering proves his guilt (Job 32:14). Elihu’s approach is identical to God’s. They both assert that, at times, Job had spoken without wisdom and knowledge (Job 34:35, 35:16, 38:2). Both affirm that Job has sought to “rebuke God,” “annul His judgment” and “condemn” Him; that Job had “justified himself rather than God” (Job 32:2, 40:2, 8). Elihu also introduces, in chapter 37, the same mysteries that God picks up with in chapter 38, the marvels of creation. We should also remember that while God rebukes Job’s three friends, He does not rebuke Elihu or group him with the other three (Job 42:7).

Elihu claims to be filled with the spirit of God and to speak on God’s behalf, which is proved true when we compare his words with God’s as noted in the previous references (Job 32:8, 36:2-3). Elihu is also never rebuked by Job, like his three friends were. Even when Job is given opportunity to speak, Elihu does not hear a cross word from him (Job 33:5). In addition, Job repents of the very mistake both Elihu and God had brought to his attention—speaking words without knowledge (Job 42:3). Elihu’s picture of God is definitely different from the three friends.

Job himself seems impressed with the compassionate entreaty of this young man, for he does not answer him. The empathy and sincerity of Elihu, his words of correction mingled with love, were perhaps a balm to Job compared to the accusations of the others. Some of this young man’s thoughts may even remind Job of his own arguments and the light that had brought hope to his own soul. Elihu’s picture of God is definitely different from the three friends. How does Job respond to the stern rebukes from God? He repents, affirming not only the words of God and Elihu, but also reminding us why Job was called a “blameless” man in the first place (Job 1:1).

Sunday – January 3, 2021 James 5:7-12 “Christian Thinking Durnig COVID 19” Pt 1

Sunday – January 3, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – January 3, 2021

James 5:10-11
Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”

Job was a blameless and upright man, who feared God and turned away from evil (Job 1:1). Satan appeared before God and God brought up Job as an example of an upright man. Satan responded that Job only trusted God because He had blessed and protected him. God gave Satan permission to do whatever he chose, as long as he didn’t lay a hand on Job himself to prove that Job was not upright just for the benefits. Satan went out and deprived Job of all his possessions. Worst of all, he sent a powerful wind that knocked down the house where Job’s children were gathered, killing all ten of them.

Job’s remarkable response was to fall before God in worship, saying, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” The author adds (Job 1:22), “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.” Satan returned to God and gained permission to go farther, as long as he spared Job’s life. So God granted permission to smote him with painful boils from head to toe. At this point, Job’s poor wife had had enough. She advised him to curse God and die. But Job responded (2:10), “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” The author again adds, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

James refers to “the Lord’s dealings” with Job. Although it was Satan who worked behind the scenes, Job affirmed that it was God: “the Lord has taken away” (Job 1:21); “Shall we accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10). James says, “the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” If that is the lesson from Job’s sufferings, then it certainly applies to our sufferings as we deal with COVID and its consequences. Against our feelings and against the temptations of the devil, we must affirm by faith, as the psalmist did (Ps. 119:71), “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.”

One of Satan’s earliest ploys was to get Adam and Eve to doubt God’s goodness toward them. He still uses that bait when we go through trials. One reason that we fall prey to doubting God’s goodness is that we think too highly of ourselves and too lowly of God. We mistakenly think that God owes us something good because we deserve it. But even Job, whom God described as the most godly man on earth, did not suffer unjustly in all that he went through. Or, as Paul asks rhetorically (Rom. 11:35), “Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again?” God does not owe us anything. Any blessings that we enjoy are sheer grace!

Sunday – October 18, 2020 Book of Acts – Acts 24:1-27 “The Preacher and the Politician”

Sunday – October 18, 2020

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Word On Worship – Sunday – October 18, 2020

Acts 24:5-8
We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.”

If this world were made up of basically good people, a man of integrity would be well loved and have no enemies. But since this world is made up of people who love darkness rather than light, and since a life of integrity exposes their evil deeds, the world will often slander the man of integrity. We are naïve if we think that if we live with integrity, we will be protected from false accusations and slanderous attempts to bring us down. Living with integrity will not shield us from slander.

In our passage, Tertullus presents his shaky case against Paul. Tertullus’ strategy was to hope that, based on the Jews’ testimony, Felix would act in his usual insensitive manner and have Paul executed. Tertullus flatly lies when he states that the Jews arrested Paul in the act of trying to desecrate the temple (24:6). The fact was, the Jews mobbed Paul with the intent to kill him, but the Roman commander intervened to save his life. But in spite of such blatant falsehood, all of the Jews joined his attack, asserting that the charges against Paul were true (24:9).

In Paul’s defense, he points out that his accusers should have been present (24:19), Paul was raising a point of Roman law, which imposed heavy penalties on accusers who abandoned their charges. Without the appearance of his accusers should have meant the withdrawal of a charge. Paul concludes by pointing out that the only supposed misdeed that any of his accusers had against him was his statement of being on trial before them because of his belief in the resurrection of the dead. Paul answered his accusers by speaking the truth.

We have no guarantee that everything will go well with us when we walk uprightly before God. Joseph acted with godly integrity when he resisted the seductive moves of Potiphar’s wife, and it landed him in prison for several years. But the Lord was with him there, and it’s better to have the Lord with you in prison than to have sinful pleasure without the Lord. It’s better to be in custody with a clear conscience, as Paul was, than to have power and money, but be alienated from God, as Felix was. However difficult your circumstances here, you will sleep well knowing that you will dwell in heaven with God throughout eternity.

Sunday – August 23, 2020 Book of Acts – Acts 18:18 to 19:18-7 “Filling in the Right Blank”

Sunday – August 23, 2020

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Word On Worship – Sunday – August 23, 2020

Acts 18:24-25
Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.

Apollos is a most fascinating fellow, and thanks to Luke’s description, we know he was a gifted Jew from Alexandria. This Egyptian city was where the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) was written. Alexandrian Jews were among those with whom Stephen debated (Acts 6:9). If Apollos was “well-versed in the scriptures” (Acts 18:24) it was probably in Alexandria that he became a great student of the Old Testament. Apollos was not only very knowledgeable in the Old Testament Scriptures; he was also a very powerful speaker.

Luke tells us a great deal about Apollos, but he also informs us that there were some gaps in his understanding of the gospel. The question is, “What were these gaps?” Imagine, for a moment, that you were a God-fearing Jew, who eagerly awaited the coming of Messiah. You knew that Messiah would make His appearance at Jerusalem. You would go there for one of the feasts and when you made your trip, it was during the time when John the Baptist was proclaiming the coming of Messiah. But it was still at a time when John had not yet been informed that Jesus was the Promised One. You would have left Jerusalem with heightened expectation, but without the specific identification of Jesus as Messiah. What you would not (and could not) know is who He was.

I believe that is the situation with Apollos, as perhaps also it might have been with the Bereans, Priscilla and Aquila, and the 12 disciples of chapter 19, verses 1-7. For someone who had finally learned of Jesus, and had come to trust in Him as the Messiah, how strange it must have been to hear a man like Apollos preach, a man who was still living in a past era, still looking for Messiah, but not knowing He had come. As Priscilla and Aquila sat in the synagogue and heard Apollos teach, they must have looked at one another and said, “His teaching points to Jesus, and he doesn’t know it.” What Priscilla and Aquila did was to “fill in the blank” for Apollos, informing him that Jesus of Nazareth was not only Messiah, but that He was Yahweh—God in human flesh.

There was a necessity for these “Old Testament saints” to hear of Jesus and trust in Him personally. That need was met through Priscilla and Aquila, as well as by Paul. If these “believers” in the “Christ to come” had to be told of Jesus and His coming, and to trust in Him, then no one will be saved apart from a personal knowledge and trust in Jesus as the Savior today, either. Unlike these “Old Testament saints,” who had not heard of Jesus, you know all that you will ever need to know about Him. But have you ever really crossed the line, from a knowledge about Jesus to a personal faith and trust in Him? If not, the hour is late and the need is urgent. Cross that line today!

Sunday – May 17, 2020 Book of Acts – Acts 11:20-33 “One Step Back to Move Forward” Pt 2

Sunday – May 17, 2020

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Word On Worship – Sunday – May 17, 2020

Acts 11:22-24
News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

Most people in the world would say, “The way to get into heaven is to be a good person.” Again, the definition of “good” in the minds of those who say this is so vague and broad that almost everyone qualifies. If you’ve ever done a good deed for someone, even if it was to earn your Boy Scout badge, you’re in! But the Bible teaches that no amount of human goodness can qualify a person for heaven, because God is absolutely good and He cannot and will not allow even a single sin into His perfect heaven. Thus the apostle Paul builds his argument that “there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Rom. 3:12), because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

In light of this, when the Bible calls a man “a good man,” we should sit up and take notice. Although it is speaking relatively, not perfectly, here is a man whose life we should study and learn from. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Luke says that Barnabas “was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (Acts 11:24). The description starts on the surface and works inward. He was a good man—how so? He was full of the Holy Spirit. How so? By being a man of faith. By studying Barnabas’ life, we will look at what a good person is, namely, a person who loves God and others (the two great commandments).

When we first meet Barnabas, he is selling his property to lay the proceeds at the apostles’ feet to meet the needs of the early church in Jerusalem (4:36-37). Years later, the apostle Paul referred to Barnabas as one, like him, who labored with his own hands to support himself in the ministry of the gospel (1 Cor. 9:6). Barnabas’ generosity toward those in need took precedence over his thinking about his own future. Later, when the famine threatened not only Judea, but also Antioch, the church in Antioch gave to help the needy saints in Judea. Although the text does not say, I’m sure that Barnabas contributed to that gift, and he gave his time to deliver it to Jerusalem. The church could trust him with the money, because he was a generous man, free from greed and obedient to God.

Having considered Barnabas, can it be said of you, as it is said of Barnabas, that you are a good man or woman, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith? Is your love for God vital and growing? Is your love for people becoming more tender and compassionate? Do you seek to help others grow in their faith? Do you ask God to use you to reach the lost for Christ? Are you aware daily of your need to depend on the Holy Spirit to produce His fruit of goodness in your life? When you do stumble, do you turn from it and go on with the Lord? That is how you can become a truly good person before God.